Cumberland's Friday Card Cut Short

Muscles Gene winning at First Tracks Cumberland
Published: June 2, 2023 08:02 pm EDT

Muscle Gene came from off the pace with his owner Ron Cushing in the bike to capture the opening race trot on an abbreviated Friday, June 2 program at Cumberland.

Trained by Heidi Gibbs, the five-year-old son of Musclesprinctonian tripped the timer in a swift 2:00.1, giving the husband and wife team their first win of the season with the horse.

At the start, 19-1 longshot Commemorative (Drew Campbell) was anxious to leave and grabbed the top in just a few strides. Wally Watson pushed his charge Mackworthy toward the front end, albeit briefly, and then slipped into the pocket. With evenly rated opening panels of 30 and 1:00, Watson pulled Mackworthy out of the garden spot to challenge for the lead while heading to the three-quarter marker.

Past a 1:29.3 third panel Mackworthy took command and tried valiantly to gain some separation on the field around the final turn, while 1-5 heavy favourite Muscle Gene moved from his position in fourth to make his presence known.  By the head of the stretch, Cushing had Muscle Gene in full flight and had reduced the leader’s margin to two lengths.

Trotting up a storm down the stretch, Muscle Gene caught Mackworthy at the shadow of the wire, much to the relief of his many backers, winning the $4,800 conditioned trot by a measured length. It was the 10th lifetime victory for Muscle Gene, who paid $2.60 to win. Commemorative hung on for third.  

The swiftest race of the day was captured by Tonianne, winning the $5,000 fillies and mares conditioned pace in 1:56.4.  Driven by Nick Graffam for trainer James Dunn, the five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare is the property of distinguished local horse owner Linwood Higgins.  She paid $4.60.

Immediately following the fourth race, lightning strikes moved into the area and took out the electrical power to the region, resulting in a cancellation of the remainder of the program.

Live harness racing is scheduled to continue on Saturday with 11 races beginning at 3:15 p.m. (EDT).

(First Tracks Cumberland)